OllieF1
Bahrain 2009: Toyota Lock Out Front Row With Trulli On Pole

Bahrain 2009: Toyota Lock Out Front Row With Trulli On Pole

The 2009 Formula One championship is getting increasingly interesting as each session of each weekend passes. Initially it was Brawn that surprised, promptly followed by the pace of the Red Bull cars in round three. And now we have another candidate for victory in the shape of Toyota driver Jarno Trulli. The Japanese team didn’t just grab the top spot either, but also managed to claim P2 with Timo Glock. Sebastian Vettel looks strong in P3 while Brawn had to settle with P4 and P6.

From the start of qualifying it looked as though Brawn may struggle, the team’s one-lap pace not looking as dominant as their long-run pace. However, Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello still kept themselves in mix as the first session caused a little drama for some drivers. As soon as qualifying began, it was clear that Toyota were strong and Jarno Trulli started a small battle with Sebastian Vettel for the first good lap time. This sharing of fastest laps would continue until the the end of the third session, although not in the German driver’s favour.

BMW once again left it until quite late to go out on track and set some lap times, although this time it worked in their favour as both Robert Kubica and Nick Heidfeld made it through to the second session. Kubica had a small flash fire while getting his tyres changed and fuel topped up in preparation for his final run. It would appear that a small amount of fuel leaked out onto the engine cover and ignited as it was heated from the exhaust. The fire very quickly burned itself out though and the BMW pilot was able to continue.

The biggest drama though came towards the end of the 20 minute stint as Mark Webber was desperately trying to get a decent lap in and move himself out of the relegation zone. The Red Bull pilot found himself among the traffic on this hot lap, and Adrian Sutil moved across the track and essentially baulked the Australian. Sutil was attempting to clear himself out of Webber’s way but both cars moved across together and this ruined the lap for Mark. With the RB5 looking good again this weekend, Webber will be upset with starting down in P19. Adrian Sutil made his way to the Red Bull motorhome to apologise to Webber after the pair had completed their media duties.

Q2 saw the end of the BMWs qualifying session as both Nick Heidfeld and Robert Kubica couldn’t better their respective P14 and P13 positions. Also suffering the wrath that is known as the bottom five was Nelson Piquet Jr. With pressure on him from all quarters to improve, the young Brazilian could only muster P15 from the Renault, prompting a rather contrite apology over the radio as he toured back to the pitlane.

As he did in Q1, Sebastian Vettel took the fastest lap and appeared to be setting himself up for another pole position. Both Toyotas looked pacey though, as did the Brawns, Hamilton’s McLaren, Alonso’s Renault and Raikkonen’s Ferrari. The fourth placed driver to the eighth placed driver all set 1m32.8xxs laps, proving just how close the pack are when on light fuel and sticky rubber.

The final session saw the Toyota drivers come alive though, and Jarno Trulli – a qualifying expert – was blitzing his way around Sakhir. The first to blink was Timo Glock who set a banker lap of 34.366s. This was promptly beaten by team mate Jarno Trulli with a 34.297s. Trulli’s time would remain at the top of the table until the final runs. Massa, Raikkonen and Rosberg hogged the bottom three position, P8, P9 and P10 respectively.

After a splash-and-dash for everybody, Button was the first to go out and set a lap time with 2 minutes remaining on the clock. The Briton took provisional pole position with a 34.022s, but the Brawn driver was almost immediately demoted by Timo Glock, steering his Toyota to a 33.712s time. Sebastian Vettel could not compete and slotted his Red Bull behind Glock, lapping Sakhir in 1m34.015s. The German Toyota driver looked imperious at the top, until the sector times from Trulli’s car started to appear. The Italian managed to steal the pole from his team mate with a lap time of 1m33.431s; almost 0.3s faster.

This isn’t Trulli’s first pole position, but his most recent was way back in 2005 at the controversial US Grand Prix at Indianapolis. During that race weekend, Toyota driver Ralf Schumacher suffered a heavy accident on the Friday and was replaced with reserve pilot Ricardo Zonta. During qualifying and despite the blame of Schumacher’s accident being blamed on the Michelin tyres that Toyota used, Trulli took pole position. Unfortunately for the fans, Toyota and the other Michelin-shod teams did not partake in the event.

For Bahrain though, it is almost certain the race will go ahead tomorrow and Jarno Trulli will be wanting to secure the second victory of his Formula One career. Timo Glock will also want to try and get the legs on Trulli as they thunder around the opening lap. Vettel looks strong in the Red Bull as well and as we saw in Shanghai, the RB5 has superb pace. Brawn will want to claim another victory so as to ensure they keep a strong margin to those behind them in the constructors championship.

Oliver White

11 comments

  • Nice to see Toyota at the front as they have been showing serious pace this year. It seems that the speed is also real. Based on Alia’s values for the “fuel effect” I have calculated the fuel adjusted grid for Bahrain and Trulli is still number one, followed by Vettel and Button.

    Good luck to them tomorrow.

  • I have calculated the fuel adjusted grid for Bahrain and Trulli is still number one, followed by Vettel and Button.

    It was a stonking lap from Trulli, but then he does seem to do very well over one lap. I just hope he doesn’t take his usual mid-race nap tomorrow and can actually convert his achievement today into something bigger on Sunday.

  • Anyone know why some drivers who crossed the start/finish line before the Q3’s 10 minutes were up did not do another hot lap? I thought if you crossed the line before the time was up you could do another one?

  • Finally , pole posistion for the BEST looking Grand Prix car in 2009. Trulli is a good guy and after all of these years it is nice to see him get some attention. I wonder if the car will have what it takes to actually win. I am also quite interested in the forecast for dust storms, don’t recall ever seeing one at a race. What would be the more difficult challenge….racing on a wet slippery track or racing on a dry slippery track ?

    Should be interesting.

  • Anyone know why some drivers who crossed the start/finish line before the Q3’s 10 minutes were up did not do another hot lap?

    I’m not sure expolosiva. It was Jenson who came in, I think, but he was allowed to do another lap. If you’ve started another lap before the timer hits 0:00 you are allowed to complete it. I can only presume that they thought the tyres would last for another hot one, but maybe they didn’t. If I catch anything in the build up I’ll post.

    I am also quite interested in the forecast for dust storms, don’t recall ever seeing one at a race.

    I don’t think there’s ever been a dust storm during a race, but when Ferrari and Toyota tested at Bahrain earlier in the year, one of the days had to be cancelled because of a storm. The emergency helicopter couldn’t fly and therefore the day was scrapped on grounds of safety. You can read more here and here which include images of Massa and Raikkonen driving on a very dusty Sakhir circuit.

  • Anyone know why some drivers who crossed the start/finish line before the Q3’s 10 minutes were up did not do another hot lap? I thought if you crossed the line before the time was up you could do another one?

    You can, but if your fuel strategy is predicated on having a set number of laps’ worth of fuel left in the tank and you do more laps than planned in qualifying, the price paid in the race may not be worth it.

    It may well be that the drivers who crossed the line before 0:00 and didn’t do any more lappery in Q3 were in that situation, or it could be that Ollie’s theory is correct. Maybe even both simultaneously.

  • Where’s my post gone?

    Sorry Alia, WordPress decided your comments were spam, but I noticed almost straight away and have put them all up. Hopefully it won’t happen again, for a while anyway! 🙂

    You can, but if your fuel strategy is predicated on having a set number of laps’ worth of fuel left in the tank and you do more laps than planned in qualifying, the price paid in the race may not be worth it.

    Another equally possible reason. I guess we won’t know now unless a reason is hidden away in some press release somewhere.

  • Sorry Alia, WordPress decided your comments were spam, but I noticed almost straight away and have put them all up. {Oliver White – previous post}

    Presumably this is why none of my comments at Sidepodcast for this afternoon appeared either.

  • Presumably this is why none of my comments at Sidepodcast for this afternoon appeared either.

    It likes you again though, as this comment arrived without any diversion to moderation or spam.

    I presume Sidepodcast use Akismet (a WordPress plugin developed by the same guys who develop WordPress), which uses a central database to filter out spam. This isn’t the only technique employed by the plugin, but it could be the reason why both sites chose to not like you for a while.

    I wouldn’t worry too much though. All of your 523 comments on BlogF1 (and probably 1,000s on SPC) are great, and that’s all that matters. Feel free to shoot me over an email if your comments get marked incorrectly again and you think I haven’t spotted it. 🙂

  • It likes you again though, as this comment arrived without any diversion to moderation or spam. {Oliver White – previous comment}

    That’s good news and your theory makes sense 🙂

    I wouldn’t worry too much though. All of your 523 comments on BlogF1 (and probably 1,000s on SPC) are great, and that’s all that matters. Feel free to shoot me over an email if your comments get marked incorrectly again and you think I haven’t spotted it. {Oliver White – previous comment}

    :blushes: Thanks, Ollie, and I will be sure to email if I have a similar problem in future.

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